While this strategy game is easy to understand, the lengthy tutorial and complex play elements demand a lot of attention and focus to be successful. Cobra Kai: Card Fighter occasionally references the show’s plot, but you don't need to be familiar with it. Much more emphasis is placed on the cards selected, which list karate moves and what they'll do in rounds. In addition to karate kicks and other motions, some cards provide energy or a health boost, which can be helpful when you're attacked. After selecting the cards, the round plays out, with characters showcasing the moves you and your opponent chose. The app's graphics can be hit or miss -- occasional close-up shots during fights highlight how some characters resemble their TV counterparts, while others look less similar. Daniel LaRusso seems to be based off his teenage persona from the first Karate Kid movie, for instance, whereas Johnny Lawrence, his counterpart, looks more like his current age. Players are given some freedom to choose what they'll do when playing thanks to a list that outlines progress and what challenges are ahead. Tasks can be done in any order, but to advance, all items on the list must be completed.
Strategizing in matches is great, although it's challenging. The tutorial's almost too lengthy and throws a lot of information out at once. Some basic rules, such as matching three same-colored Fight Cards for a bigger impact, are fairly easy to grasp early on, but the card system, which is essentially rock-paper-scissors, has quite a few nuances. Getting a sense of each card, and when to best use it, can take some time. Random factors also appear to influence how things go in rounds, so it's unclear why a hit didn't land or why one did significant damage. As long as players are OK with the game being based more on card choice than directing kicks, and are willing to invest time in figuring out how the strongest moves, they'll have a fun time with this TV-influenced strategy brawler.